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Sir Martin John Gilbert (25 October 1936 – 3 February 2015) was a British historian and honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. He was the author of eighty-eight books, including works on Winston Churchill, the 20th century, and Jewish history including the Holocaust. He was a member of the Chilcot Inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq War. Early life Gilbert was born in London, the first child of Peter Gilbert, a north London jeweller, and his wife Miriam; their original family name was Goldberg. All four of his grandparents had been born in the Pale of Settlement in Tsarist Russia (today's Poland and Lithuania). Nine months after the outbreak of the Second World War, he was evacuated to Canada as part of the British efforts to safeguard children. Vivid memories of the transatlantic crossing from Liverpool to Quebec sparked his curiosity about the war in later years.After the war, Gilbert attended Highgate School, where he was taught history by the Balkan expert Alan Palmer, and politics by T. N. Fox. He described himself as being interested in "Jewish things" from a young age, noting that at school he "once or twice got in trouble for my Zionistic activities." He then completed two years of National Service in the Intelligence Corps before going on to study at Magdalen College at the University of Oxford. Gilbert graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with first-class honours in modern history. One of his tutors at Oxford was A. J. P. Taylor. After his graduation, Gilbert undertook postgraduate research at St Antony's College, Oxford. Career Historian and author After two years of postgraduate work, Gilbert was approached by Randolph Churchill to assist his work on a biography of his father, Sir Winston Churchill. That same year, 1962, Gilbert was made a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and became a part of the same circle of academics that included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. He spent the next few years combining his own research projects in Oxford with being part of Randolph's research team in Suffolk, who were working on the first two volumes of the Churchill biography. When Randolph died in 1968, Gilbert was commissioned to take over the task, completing the remaining six main volumes of the biography.Gilbert spent the next 20 years on the Churchill project, publishing a number of other books throughout the time. Each main volume of the biography is accompanied by two or three volumes of documents initially called Companions, and so the biography currently runs to 28 volumes (over 30,000 pages), with another 3 document volumes still planned. Michael Foot, reviewing a volume of Gilbert's biography of Churchill in the New Statesman in 1971, praised his meticulous scholarship and wrote: "Whoever made the decision to make Martin Gilbert Churchill's biographer deserves a vote of thanks from the nation. Nothing less would suffice."In the 1960s, Gilbert compiled a number of historical atlases. His other major works include a single-volume history on the Holocaust, as well as the single-volume histories First World War and Second World War. He also wrote a three-volume series called A History of the Twentieth Century. Gilbert described himself as an "archival historian" who made extensive use of primary sources in his work. Interviewed by the BBC on the subject of Holocaust research in 2005, Gilbert said he believed that the "tireless gathering of facts will ultimately consign Holocaust deniers to history."By the 1980s Gilbert's academic attention had also turned towards the Refusenik movement in the Soviet Union. Gilbert authored Jews of Hope: The Plight of Soviet Jewry Today (1984) and Shcharansky: Hero of Our Time (1986), and he presented on behalf of the Soviet Jewry Movement in a variety of contexts, ranging from large forums such as formal representation before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to smaller forums such as an educational slideshow for the general public on behalf of the Soviet Jewry Information Centre.In 1995, Gilbert retired as a Fellow of Merton College but was made an Honorary Fellow. In 1999 he was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Oxford "for the totality of his published work". In 2000 he received the Guardian of Zion Award from the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Bar-Ilan University. From 2002, he was a Distinguished Fellow of Hillsdale College, Michigan, and between 2006 and 2007 he was a Professor in the History department at the University of Western Ontario. In October 2008, he was elected to an Honorary Fellowship at Churchill College. Public service Gilbert was appointed in June 2009 as a member of the British government's inquiry into the Iraq War (headed by Sir John Chilcot). His appointment to this inquiry was criticised in parliament by William Hague, Clare Short, and George Galloway on the basis of scepticism over his neutrality, Gilbert having written in 2004 that George W. Bush and Tony Blair may in the future be esteemed to the same degree as Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. In an article for The Independent on Sunday published in November 2009, Oliver Miles, the former British ambassador to Libya, objected to the presence of Gilbert and Sir Lawrence Freedman on the committee partly because of their Jewish background and Gilbert's Zionist sympathies. In a later interview, Gilbert saw Miles's attack as being motivated by antisemitism. Reception Many laud Gilbert's books and atlases for their meticulous scholarship and his clear and objective presentation of complex events. His book on World War I is described as a majestic, single-volume work incorporating all major fronts—domestic, diplomatic, military—for "a stunning achievement of research and storytelling." Catholic sources describe him as a "fair-minded, conscientious collector of facts."Gilbert's portrayal of Churchill's supportive attitudes to Jews (in his book Churchill and the Jews) has been criticised, for example, by Piers Brendon and Michael J. Cohen. Furthermore, Tom Segev writes that although Gilbert's book The Story of Israel is written with "encyclopaedic clarity," it suffers from the absence of figures from Arab sources. Honours and awards In 1990, Gilbert was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In 1995, he was awarded a knighthood "for services to British history and international relations". In 2003 Gilbert was awarded the Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize by the University of Tübingen. In 2012, he won the Dan David Prize for his contribution to "History/Biography". The Sir Martin Gilbert Library at Highgate School, where he was a pupil, was opened on 6 May 2014 by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. "I know he helped Lady Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, but he also helped me a great deal with his insights into history", said Brown. "I know he advised Harold Wilson even before them, but at every point Martin was available and he wanted to believe that the.... Discover the Martin Gilbert popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Martin Gilbert books.

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